Brokenness

Guest blog by Melody:

“I’m broken”. All of us have identified with that statement. Something happened in our lives to break our hearts. Maybe a death of a loved one, maybe our dreams got knocked down. We often experience betrayal. Sometimes our own guilt can make us feel brokenhearted. Yes, we’ve all felt broken, but what do we do about it?

For awhile, we may try to protect ourselves by withdrawing from everything we can. We may even lash out with our sharp, broken shards against others – or even against ourselves; somehow believing such action will bring healing. After a short time, though, the brokenness wears us down. Now we are broken and weary.

I worked as an advocate for a domestic violence shelter, and our director had a degree in art therapy. She came up with a hands-on way to deal with the brokenness that the women had experienced. The women began by taking various old plates, representing their lives to that point, and smashing them to bits. These bits were sorted into containers. Our director had already taken a very large wooden square – like a canvas – and had drawn a butterfly on it. The women then took the various pieces of broken plates and affixed them to the board until it made a beautiful butterfly; a symbol of the metamorphoses they were making and the freedom they would be experiencing. A beautiful mosaic was created out of the broken pieces of their symbolized lives, giving hope to the women that they, too, could use their brokenness to become beautiful new creations.

There is a Japanese craft called kintsugi, which means “golden joinery”. It is all about turning ugly breaks into beautiful fixes. The story goes that a wealthy Japanese man sent a broken bowl to a craftsman to be repaired. When the bowl was returned to him, he was disgruntled to see that the two pieces had been rejoined by two ugly, metal staples. He sent it back in a huff, and the craftsman came up with kintsugi by mixing gold dust with resin and letting it set in the crack. The wealthy man loved his repaired bowl now better than when it was new, and the art of kintsugi has been popular ever since.

When I think of my own brokenness, I imagine God as a master worker of kintsugi. He wants me to be made whole, and He delights in making me more beautiful than before.

 

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

I need to remember to surrender my brokenness to His hands, though, so He can do His work. I cannot fix myself, and hiding from Him in shame cannot result in healing.

What happens to us after we are repaired by the Master Potter? Evidence of our brokenness remains as a crack, but it is filled with the beauty of God’s grace. Others will see it and marvel at the Potter’s work. They may even seek His craftsmanship for repair of their own brokenness.

In Leonard Cohen’s song, Anthem, he says “There is a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in.” We do not need to hide our broken pieces in shame. God sees us with compassion and longs to take us tenderly into His hands and create a work of beauty. We return changed, our scars visible but now beautiful, healed by the balm of His grace.

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